Fall '14

Informal Cities

Designing Urbanity: Collective Housing in Emergent Cities

Visiting Workshop

  • November 13 - 16
  • St. Louis, Missouri, USA
  • Prof. Alfredo Brillembourg & Prof. Hubert Klumpner
    Danny Wills
  • Partner: Washington University School of Architecture, Associate Professor John Hoal, Lecturer Matthew Bernstine


Today, one billion people live in informal cities (36% of the world’s population) and this is expected to grow another one billion over the next 30 years. In Africa alone the urban population will explode over the next 3 decades, from 294 million in 2000 to a staggering 1.2 billion in 2050. The ever-evolving informal city is an urban phenomenon that will be present throughout the careers of the next generation of architects and urbanists. This one credit workshop is located in the City of Cape Town, South Africa, one of the most important and relevant cities to engage with informal settlements. Cape Town presently hosts approximately 193,000 informal households in 204 informal settlements throughout the city. Khayelithsa, the focus for this workshop, has 65,345 households (55% of all the shacks in Cape Town) and is the world’s 4th largest slum. The design challenge presented to the students, is to design a neighborhood strategy complete with infrastructure services, civic amenities, and new housing typologies that collectively create a sense of community for the “BT Section” of Khayelitsha.